When one person abuses drugs, it becomes a family problem
By Myra Negret & Itzel Crisostomo
CTC Youth Coalition
Our friend “Jaime” was an A-student. He was so smart and studied hard. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA. We were so proud of him. Jaime had plans to go to college. He was such a hard worker and helped his family in times of need.
We don’t know why or how it started, but it took one addicting drug to ruin all those dreams.
Jaime was a best friend and a good role model to us. He was someone we looked up to and wanted to be like, but now it’s just him in his drug world. He doesn’t care about us anymore. He only cares about his drugs.
It hurts to see him like that when we were so used to seeing the good in him. He doesn’t want it, and we can’t make him let us help him. He made his choice. We miss him.
Statistically, 100 people die from a drug-related overdose every day. Living begins with kids, family and friends, and it ends when you start using drugs. According to the Washington State Department of Health, in 2013, 35 percent of high school students across the nation were alcohol users and 23 percent were current marijuana users. In Washington, 12 percent of 12th-graders used other illegal drugs to get high.
Drug overdose deaths have been rising since 1992, with a 117 percent increase in just 1999 to 2012 alone, according to the CDC. In 2012, out of 41,502 deaths from overdoses, 22,114 deaths, or 53 percent, were from prescription drug use. Those are drugs we find in our medicine cabinets at home.
At the beginning, we might not notice how drugs may affect us. But when we have a sibling or a close friend who is addicted to a drug and we see the damage the drugs can cause them, it’s something very hard to deal with. We want to help them, but we can’t do anything if they don’t want to quit using. Using provides them something that just gives them fake feelings.
We know this because drugs have affected our families. We both have brothers who used drugs. In Itzel’s case, a brother’s drug use broke up her family. Her parents got a divorce because they fought about how to deal with it. In Myra’s case, her brother went to jail, where he got involved with more people who were a bad influence on him.
Our brothers’ drug use didn’t just affect our brothers; it affected us, our parents and our siblings. Drugs were a family problem.
We can help prevent our loved ones from getting into a drug life by becoming informed about the consequences of drug use. The more people know and understand what drugs can do to their lives, the better their future choices will be. We chose to be involved with the CTC youth group because we want to be informed about the consequences of drug and alcohol use. And we want to share what we learn with others so they can make healthy decisions for themselves. We get much bad information about drugs from our friends, or people who just want us to use drugs. We need to learn what’s real and what isn’t to make our own smart decisions.
We also want to make a difference and we don’t want others to go through what we did. We are 18 and 17 years old and we still have a lot of life to live. We want to live it healthier, not just for ourselves but for our babies. We are unplanned moms, but we know we want our sons to live without the bad stuff that drugs caused for us. Being a teen mom is tough enough to plan for our futures and we don’t need drugs to make our lives tougher!
We are hoping that by working with CTC Youth, our high school, and our community, we can make the road to our future a healthier one.
Myra Negret and Itzel Crisostomo are members of the Quincy Communities that Care Youth Coalition. The coalition, made up of young people in Quincy, meets at 3:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month and at 5 p.m. the third Monday of each month. Meetings are in the second-floor meeting room of Quincy City Hall. For more information, contact Maddie Sanchez, CTC project director, at 237-1363.